New Year's Eve is an exciting time for millions of Americans looking forward to fireworks, food, and countless celebrations to ring in the New Year!
And while New Year's Eve is often seen as a time to let go of the past year and focus on the new opportunities ahead, the dangers that many of our celebrations present make it a very difficult day for some.
How Dangerous is New Year's Eve?
It's important to know just how dangerous New Year's Eve can be in order to help your family stay safe during the holiday. Below are some of the most common causes of accidents, injuries, and death during the New Year holiday.
The National Safety Council estimates between 308 and 514 traffic-related deaths during the 3-day New Year's Eve holiday period. That’s about 6 to 7 deaths per hour due to fatal accidents!
Some, if not most, of these accidents will be due to alcohol consumption during the holiday. According to the NSC, in 2019, 36% of fatal car accidents involved drunk driving.
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others is to stay off the roads if you can. And, if you do go out, be sure to have a designated driver or hire a car if you’ll be drinking.
Fireworks are a dangerous part of the New Year's Eve Holiday. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 10% of fireworks fires happen between December 30 and January 3, peaking on New Year's Day!
Burns from fireworks can be deadly and injure a person's hands, face, eyes, and arms. The NFPA says that over 9,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year due to firework injuries, showing just how serious these injuries can be.
It's not just adults that get hurt by fireworks either. The 2018 U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission Report found that one third of all firework injuries that year involved children and teens younger than 15 years old.
According to data from Shot Spotter, a forensic investigation system, statistics showed that 22.9% of gunfire incidents in 2015 happened on a single day - New Year's Eve!
People fire guns into the air in celebration at midnight on New Year's. According to the CDC, this is dangerous since bullets can fall to the ground hard enough to be fatal.
Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition, and can affect people without them knowing it. This is especially true around the holidays when many people drink more than usual. American Addiction Centers found that on New Year's Eve, people consume 4.4 alcoholic drinks on average, making it the second most alcohol fueled holiday in America next to Mardi Gras. This excess drinking on New Year's Eve can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Staying Safe and Sane this New Year's
Fortunately, many of the dangers common to New Year's Eve can be avoided by following simple tips. Below is a list of some of the best ways you and your family can stay safe during the holiday.
1. Don't Play with Fireworks - It sounds simple, but avoiding playing with fireworks can be one of the best ways to prevent injuries to you or your children. Instead, visit a firework show or enjoy the fireworks on your TV screen from the comfort of your own home!
2. Avoid Hazardous Areas - If there's an area in your city that had lots of gunfire accidents last year, it's best to plan ahead and avoid that area this year. You don't want to risk a fatal gunfire accident.
3. Drink Responsibly - If you're going to drink, stick with the CDC's recommended amount of 1 to 2 drinks per day to enjoy the holiday. Better yet, make some non-alcoholic drinks that are just as tasty (and safer)!
4. Avoid Driving while Drunk - With Uber and Lyft around, there are so many options for getting a ride even when you're intoxicated. You can also leave your car keys at home or with a friend to ensure you don't drive drunk accidentally.
5. Drive Defensively - Even if you're not driving drunk, you can still be involved in a car accident. Drive defensively, put down the cell phone, and keep an eye on the road to help you avoid an accident this holiday.
6. Watch out For Others - If you see your loved ones drinking excessively, playing with fireworks or guns, or attempting to drive impaired, speak up and prevent an accident!
This New Year's doesn't have to be dangerous. By following these tips and being informed on the dangers of the holiday, you and your family can stay safe and sane and start the New Year off right (and injury free)!